Disneyland Or Dismaland?
With All Due Respect To Banksy, The Original Disneylands Are Enough Of A Nightmarish, Apocalyptic Scene Than Anything The Renowned Graffiti Artist Can Pull Off
Image by Florent Darrault and used under the terms of a Creative Commons License.
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
Sept. 7, 2015 — When Banksy unveiled his moribund Disneyland knockoff Dismaland in England last month, few people were surprised. After all, the world’s foremost anonymous graffiti artist is not exactly a stranger to grand displays of pop-fueled defiance, and, now that he has enough ‘fuck you’ money in the bank to buy a small island, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would eventually train his spraypaint cans on the flop-House of Mouse.
There’s only one problem with Banksy’s apocalyptic Disneyland: it already exists. Banksy is not the first person to create a nightmare version of Disneyland, because an anti-semitic white (is right) knight by the name of Walt Disney already built the original 60 years ago in Southern California.
That’s right folks, Disneyland is the original Dismaland. For all the talk of The Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland is actually a terrifying exercise in existential dread—a nightmarish hellscape filled with angry dads, $5 churros, spoiled fat kids and, worst of all, revisionist history.
I get it; Disneyland puts on a good face. On the surface, it is a historic theme park filled with happy children, idealistic set dressing and hot coeds dressed as beloved children’s characters. But, beneath that veneer lies the truth.
And the truth is a little less flattering. The theme park is historic in the way Ford trucks are historic. It is a classic American brand built up by a racist asshole who admired Hitler and is beloved by the majority of citizens in a country with an average IQ that barely eclipses 100.
Think about the typical Disneyland experience. A middle-American parent drops a few grand so his family can spend a couple days at Disneyland and the cancerous growth next door known as California Adventure. Plus, he’s got to shell out premium dough so the family can stay at the Disney-themed resort because if he tries to skimp by booking the Best Western, the UCLA communications major playing Cinderella will sneer at his kids.
What does this parent (or Uncle or Aunt or Grandparent) get for the investment of a month’s worth of salary? Not a whole fucking lot. Shitty food that costs a fortune, bunions and fallen arches and temperatures that well exceed the breezy Southern California climate due to the fact that Disneyland is basically a concrete heat sponge filled with 85,000 people who are all sweating, suffering and begging for more.
And then there are the kids. Oh, the fucking kids. Unless you’re willing to drop an additional $800 on churros, swag, toys and other plastic bullshit, they are going to whine, bitch and moan like you just took them on vacation to the Pioneer Living History Museum.
Do not get me wrong. I love almost all kids under normal circumstances, but Disneyland turns them into awful little monsters and it is not their fault. The park is a stimulation laser shot straight into their brain. It’s like dousing a Mogwai from Gremlins with water on purpose.
If you give a toddler a bowl of sugar and an espresso shot, you cannot be surprised when they break the good china and shit on the curtains. The same can be said of Disneyland. If you take your kids to Disneyland, you cannot be upset if they expect you to buy every single thing that their still-forming brain now wants (due to Disney’s very talented marketing staff) and lose their collective shit when your wallet runs dry.
Despite this, the truth is Disneyland is The Happiest Place on Earth...when you are not in Disneyland. It is like the moment you leave Disney property your misted with a light spray of heavy narcotic that alters your memory.
Watching a family leave Disneyland is quite the scene. Two parents, tired and sore, yelling at each other about how they are going to afford the mortgage next month while the children (one with possibly soiled underpants) scream that they either do not want to leave, want to go home, want another churro or never got to see Ariel (because the “actress” who plays her had a flare up and had to call in sick).
But, the moment they step onto unconsecrated ground, it turns into a scene straight out of Full House. Not the one where someone is calling DJ fat; the one where everyone is hugging and kissing and being in love and Joey says something funny that laugh tracks us into the credit sequence.
They’re left with nothing but warm fuzzies and enough credit card debt to keep at least one of their children (probably the one with the poopy underpants) out of college.
If you’d like the Disneyland experience, but need to save money, I have a solution for you. Just read a few chapters of Mein Kampf and punch yourself in the genitals while your kids eat Sour Patch Kids and watch Caillou on re-runs.
Wayne Schutsky is a senior contributor to Modern Times Magazine.
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